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Giannis involved in post-game scrap over game ball

nba: indiana pacers at milwaukee bucks
‘Greek Freak’ Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a Bucks franchise-record 64 points

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a franchise-record 64 points against the visiting Indiana Pacers on Wednesday — and then the drama truly began postgame.

Antetokounmpo got in a scuffle in the area of the Pacers’ locker room while looking for the game ball after the Bucks’ 140-126 win.

According to multiple media reports, Antetokounmpo and several teammates pursued the ball in the tunnel. Antetokounmpo then came back on the court and said some heated words to Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton before finally walking away.

Haliburton said later, “From my understanding there was just a misunderstanding after the game. For some reason he wanted to confront me. I was just standing out there. We beat them twice (recently), so they came out with some fire today and they took care of business.”

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle later said that his team took one of the two game balls to give to Oscar Tshiebwe, who recorded his first NBA point in the contest.

When Antetokounmpo finally got to his postgame interview, he was asked if he had the game ball.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I really don’t know. I have a ball but I don’t know if it’s the game ball. It doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball. I can tell. I played, what, 35 minutes today. I know how the game ball felt.”

ESPN reported that a Bucks official got the actual game ball from the floor at the final buzzer.

Antetokounmpo added that he only wanted the ball to give to teammate Damian Lillard, who moved into fifth place in NBA history for 3-pointers made during the contest.

“I understand, when you score your first point in the NBA you want to have the ball or whatever the case may be,” Antetokounmpo said. “But at the end of the day, you’re talking about the guy that just skipped Kyle Korver in the all-time (3-pointers) list. In my opinion, we should all stop what we’re doing and appreciate greatness.”

Carlisle added, “Unfortunate situation. We don’t need the official game ball. There’s two game balls there, we could’ve taken the other one. But it didn’t need to escalate to that.

“Really just unfortunate. Third game we played these guys within 2 1/2, three weeks, so things are heated with the competition, and I understand all that, but for it to come into the hallway, it didn’t need to happen that way.”

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